User review spotlight: Carmageddon (DOS). Released in 1997.

Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon (DOS)

78
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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.0
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  אולג 小奥 (171737)
Written on  :  Jun 14, 2001
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars

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Summary

Have a Monolith Burger before Arnoid catches you!

The Good

The first Space Quest pretty much defined the whole series with its lighthearted, amusing space tale about an extraordinary janitor who keeps surviving against all odds. The second installment was less funny and focused more on various hazards. Space Quest III goes back to the template of the first game, but enhances it with more humor and personality. Filled with all kinds of wacky situations, weird encounters, and silly fun, Space Quest III is perhaps the most typical game of the series, its most "pure" representative. Together with its sequel, it is also the one fans of the series usually remember most fondly.

Gameplay-wise, Space Quest III has decidedly more to offer than the previous games. The new text parser allows you to choose more concrete verbs and some very specific actions. There is an excellent variety of different situations and actions you could perform in the game. From traditional exploration and item-gathering to playing funny minigames, navigating a spaceship, or infiltrating a company building disguised as a janitor (what a disguise, indeed...), there is always plenty of things to do, keeping the game fresh and exciting. There is not a bit of repetitive gameplay in Space Quest III, and it is amusing and diverse from the beginning to the end.

The humor is also much more evident in this title than in the two previous games. There are more weird characters, all sorts of funny situations, plus the traditional death scenes that were the trademark of Sierra's adventures at that time. Pop culture references, movie spoofs (a terminator called "Arnoid"? Really?..), and situations far surpassing the earlier installments in comedic entertainment value (such as a mecha fight against a dorky office boss) are much more prominent. The game is more verbose and descriptive, having somewhat warmer, eloquent writing. Also, while in the two previous games you were still a nameless "player" (although the hero's real name was mentioned in documentation), this is the first game where Roger Wilco acts under his own name. In this game particularly, the charming "loser" personality of Roger comes to life. Later Space Quest installments added more character development, but Space Quest III made a step in that direction.

Technically, this game is a noticeable step forwards compared to its immediate predecessor; with a new, updated version of classic Sierra text-based interface, the game's interaction became richer, more intelligent and satisfying. The graphics are also much more impressive than in the first two installments; until now, Space Quest III is remembered as one of the finest examples of late EGA art. Even compared to other Sierra games made with the same engine, those visuals have something that make them stand out.

The game presents a good variety of locations, classical Space Quest-style planet-hopping that was lacking in the second game. From a spaceship graveyard to an intergalactic burger restaurant, from a mysterious planet with a purple surface and a shop that sells tourist souvenirs to the headquarters of an evil corporation, the locations of Space Quest III always keep the player interested, pressing him to continue playing and see where he would be taken next.

The Bad

Space Quest III has its weaknesses. Firstly, while it does expand the game world and increases diversity, it is still a rather short and fairly straightforward game. There is hardly any exploration of a continuous world in the sense of King's Quest. In fact, most of the locations are very small and there isn't much you can do there besides performing the necessary actions to advance the plot. The only exception is the initial junkyard - which is, frankly, not a particularly thrilling area to begin with. It is also disproportionally long, occupying about a third of the entire game. And while you can visit several planets afterwards, the whole thing is over a bit too soon, with only the tightly scripted hazards creating the illusion of a longer adventure.

In terms of storytelling, Space Quest III is a disappointment. The two earlier games were hardly groundbreaking works of fiction, but at least they had overarching goals and objectives that made sense within a larger context. In this installment, you escape from the lengthy junkyard sequence only to travel to the few available planets without any compelling reason. The actual plot information is handed to you almost by accident, and by that time you might have already completed areas you had no idea were crucial for your quest.

The Bottom Line

Amusing characters, all kinds of weird deaths to avoid, funny locations - the classic Space Quest ingredients are all there. Space Quest III feels a bit too simple at times and suffers from traditional Sierra-style strange logic; but it is also a dynamic, entertaining game that stays in your memory with all its silliness and charm.